If you’re looking for some tire workouts that will kick your butt, I am going to go over 4 in this article that will have you so dead, you’ll be simultaneously cursing and thanking yourself that you came across this article. 

Tires make for some phenomenal workouts–I’ve used tires for years, both in my own training and with my personal training clients. I rate them so highly that when I opened my own gym years ago, I got 4!

In this article, you’ll learn:

  • 4 of my favorite (grueling) tire workouts 
  • Step-by-step instructions with pictures and videos to make sure you’re performing the exercises effectively (to minimize injury) 
  • Everything you could possibly need to know about tires and tire workouts
tires and tire workouts
As I said, at my gym I have 4 tires and I haven’t paid a penny for any of them…

4 Tire Workouts Guaranteed To Kick Your ASS

Tire Workout #1: Burpee To Tire Flip To Sledgehammer Hits…

Go hard, go long! You need a lot of space to complete this workout, but it’s a classic all-gas no brakes set up, designed to have you gasping. It’s simple – take three tough exercises and combine them. Repeat until you can’t!

What you need: Large, heavy tire. At least 20 yards of straight line space. Sledgehammer.

Perform a burpee into tire jump (full burpee, but jump on top of the large tyre in front rather than into a standing position).

I made a Youtube video on how to do this one here:

Repeat for 40 yards. 

Once you’ve completed the burpees to flips for the full 40 yards, grab the sledgehammer and hit the tire from both sides for 30 second bursts.

That’s one set. Minimize rest periods to maintain intensity.

Beginners: Perform 2 sets

Intermediates: Perform 3 sets

Advanced: perform 4 or 5 sets

Tire Workout #2: Full Body Tire Workout

This is a classic full-body workout done in a circuit. It’s designed so you run through the exercises without rest, pushing yourself hard to maintain a maximum heart rate throughout. 

What you need: Large, heavy tire. At least 40 yards of straight line space. 

Perform 20 reps of each exercise in the following order…

  1. Tire flips
  2. Feet elevated push ups
  3. Tire flip to plyometric jump
  4. Rear foot elevated split squat (10 per leg)
  5. Tire mountain climbers
  6. Burpee into tire flip

Here is another Youtube video, by yours truly, showing how to do this:

Beginners: Perform 1 round

Intermediates: Perform 2 rounds 

Advanced: As many rounds as you can!

Workout #3: Burpee Tire Flip Jump Throughs… For Time

This is class tire training – simple, spartan, hard. 

It’s three exercises combined into a single rep, repeated until you get to 100 reps. If this doesn’t have you gasping for air, you didn’t do it right! 

It’s a classic finisher that I use with my clients.

What you need: Large, heavy tire.

Perform a burpee. Flip the tire. Once it has completed a full flip, jump into it and back out the other side.

That’s 1 rep. 

Perform another burpee, flip it back on itself and jump through again.

Complete 100 reps in as little time as possible.

Workout #4: ‘Tire 3, 2, 1, Go’ Workout

Simple, time efficient and trains the whole body. There’s nothing to dislike about this workout, but by the end you’ll feel like you’ve been in a battle!

What you need: Large, heavy tire. 30 yards of straight line space

Three tire flips. Two feet-elevated push ups. One burpee, followed by a 30 yard run. Keep rest periods between reps as short as possible.

Beginner: Repeat for 10 rounds 

Intermediate: Repeat for 15 rounds

Advanced: 20 if you’re a beast!

Rest: To keep the intensity high, maintain short rest periods between sets.

What To Look For In A Workout Tire

There’s all kinds of different types of tire, so you have to consider what you’re going for. It needs to be heavy enough to be challenging, but light enough to be able to move. Consider storage too – the heavier it is, the bigger it is.

You may be thinking “no problem, I’ll store it outside”. That’s fine… as long as you don’t experience rain, because heavy rain will fill a tire up like a bucket, and you don’t want to have to empty a tire full of rainwater before each workout!

Here’s a list of considerations with a workout tire…

  1. Size and weight – is it suitably big and heavy enough? 100LB – 350LB works.
  2. Wall integrity – is the rubber in good enough condition to support your weight?
  3. Debris – is there embedded stones/nails/glass in there?
  4. Grip and tread – can you grab hold of anything to flip?
  5. Holes – are there any holes big enough for a finger to accidentally get trapped in?
  6. Thickness – will it withstand being hit with a sledgehammer?

Once you’ve checked the tire over and are happy it’s suitable, it’s on to the next stage. Preparing the tire for workout use…

Where To Find A Tire For Your Workouts

There’s so much versatility in tires; they can give you a full body workout in a short period of time. Whether the focus is strength, conditioning and functional fitness, tires can do the job. 

It’s also nice to change things up from barbells, kettlebells and dumbbells once in a while.

There’s another benefit of tires in a home gym… THEY’RE OFTEN FREE!

That’s right! Depending on where you live, farmers have to pay to dispose of their tractor tires. If you ask nicely, they’ll happily give you a tire for free, and in many cases, even drop it off for you.

How To Prepare A Tire For Workout Use

There’s a good chance that the tire you’ll have picked up will have spent plenty of time rolling it’s way through fields full of crap, and you don’t want to put your hands in that on a workout!

Here’s how you get a tire workout ready…

  1. Empty the stagnant water from the tire
  2. Drill lots of small holes around it – this helps to remove the water and prevents a build up when you come to wash it later
  3. Jet wash the tire inside and out – this will get rid of the surface dirt
  4. Using a disinfectant and a strong brush, scrub the tire thoroughly inside and out
  5. Rinse using a jet wash again
  6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 until it’s clean

It’s not a quick process, but it’s worth it. Tires have usually seen a lot of use and are rarely cleaned in a couple of minutes – you really need to put the time and effort into it. You wouldn’t want to short-cut it and make a mess of your gym.

Below is an example of the drainage holes I drilled all around my tires – they help water drain out easily after cleaning…

drainage holes in tyres

Mid way through the cleaning and disinfecting process…

Mid way through the cleaning and disinfecting process

How To Maximize Your Tire Workouts And Your Gains

First of all, embrace the difference that a tire offers. It’s not a barbell, so don’t treat it like one. 

Form and function here are different; with odd-object training, you’re supposed to be challenging yourself in new ways. You won’t always lift in perfect technique with a neutral spine. Accept the fact that form will vary – just don’t do anything stupid. Still engage the core, still lift as cleanly as you can, just don’t expect perfection every time.

Think explosive, powerful movements that make you athletically better, uniquely stronger and challenge you in new ways. Using tires takes you out of your comfort zone and poses you problems that normal gym equipment doesn’t.

Unlike a barbell, a tire is a fixed weight. You can’t easily increase the load, so you have to play with four different variables to increase the intensity of the workout…

  1. Sets
  2. Reps
  3. Rest periods
  4. Supersets, complexes and the like

To truly get the most out of a tire workout the key is to not over-complicate it. Think simple movements, high-intensity and huge work rate. That’s the trick to tire workouts.

Tire-Flipping Technique – How To Flip A Tire Properly

The most important tire exercise of all is the tire flip. It’s an explosive movement that trains a huge amount of muscle in one go. It trains the legs, forearms, glutes, lower back, core and pushing power in a single exercise.

There’s no ‘perfect’ way to flip a tire because the size of the tire and our own lever lengths vary significantly. This is how I do it and coach my clients to do it though…

  1. Bend your knees, get yourself low and keep your chest up
  2. Get your fingers under the rim of the tire and keep your back straight
  3. Initiate the move with a big leg drive
  4. When the tire is on its way up, help the momentum in the tire by ‘curling’ it up even higher
  5. When the tire is nearly stood up, flip your hands around and push it over

In slow motion, it looks like this…

So now you know how to flip a tire, let’s look at how you can introduce them into your workouts.

Tire Flip Workout Benefits

I always base my tire workouts around the flip, because I believe it’s the biggest bang for your buck exercise there is with a tire. That single exercise trains your legs, glutes, lower back, core and forearms. It’s a true compound lift. 

The tire flip is also functional because it demands good mobility, pulling and pushing strength. It asks you to use your lower and upper body together and it requires you to coordinate multiple movements into a single exercise. It makes you work hard.

Multiple heavy tire flips are a great workout on their own!

Additional Tire Workout Ideas…

I’ve included 4 tire workouts I use in the article, but there are other great ideas – I just didn’t have room for them here!

Tire drag workouts

If you can secure a rope or straps to your tire, dragging your tire can give you an excellent workout. You can even stack multiple tires on top of each other to make it even tougher!

It also makes a great partner exercise, if you make the weight heavy enough…

Tire sledgehammer workouts

An excellent use of a tire is as a target for sledgehammer workouts. It’s no more complicated than that – use the sledgehammer on opposite sides of your body to hit the tire as hard as you can. 

It’s an excellent core and conditioning workout, with effective carryover into sports.

CrossFit tire workouts

As I’ve shown in this article, the tire can either be the main piece of equipment for the workout or it can simply be an item that’s used as part of a circuit. Making it part of a CrossFit WOD would be easy – it’s a perfect conditioning tool for an outdoor workout.

Here’s a few ideas that you could add into a WOD…

Maximizing Tire Workout Effectiveness

The name of the game with tire workouts is effective simplicity. A tire isn’t as versatile as a barbell, kettlebell or dumbbell, so don’t try to make it so.

Use its strengths – its weight, its awkwardness and its size. Maximise these with effective variety – flip it, hit it, jump on it, jump in it, use it for push ups. Just don’t try to get too creative and lose the essence of what makes the tire so good.

As I said earlier in the article, there’s a spartan element of tire workouts. It proves you don’t always need expensive or complicated equipment, you just need a solid work ethic and a little bit of space. With these in place you can literally transform your conditioning workouts and take your functional fitness and physique to the next level.

Once you’ve started tire training, you won’t look back! It’s the starting point for a whole new world of workout variety and fitness improvement.

Looking for other great workouts? Check out our article on the best Air Bike Workouts (that I do with my clients).

Steve Hoyles

Steve is a Personal Trainer, Weightlifting Coach, and Gym Owner. He has written about fitness for over a decade. He lives with his girlfriend Rachel and their two sons.

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